Between Belfast and Machadodorp, where the Elands River rushes down from the mountains on its way to the Lowveld, one experiences the unique sub-alpine climate of the Highlands. Here, you can sit back and enjoy spectacular views down the escarpment, and enjoy some of the best fly-fishings the region has to offer. The fishing is diverse and challenging, and a good experience for the more serious and advanced fisherman. Anford offers 3 dams with trout weighing up to 2kg lurking in the depths. Experience the tranquillity and superb fishing Anford has to offer. Excellent picnic spots can be found at the waterfalls and dams or in the pine forest.
The sub-alpine climate and the altitude on the escarpment creates a special environment with unique fauna and flora. From rugged cliffs with aloes and shrubs to open grassland plains and pine forest, this area has a diverse range of plants. During your walks, you could spot a variety of animals and birds. Look out on the rocky cliffs for rock rabbits living in the cracks and holes. Small antelopes like Duiker, Klipspringer, Steenbuck, Blesbuck and Oribi are regularly spotted in the area. At night Jackal, caracal, civet, aardvark and porcupine abound. 169 different bird species have been identified in the area and it is a birding paradise. Birds, from the resident breeding pair of Fish Eagles to a wide variety of water birds can be expected to be seen during your visit.
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At 2097m above sea level, Dullstroom is one of the highest towns in South Africa. It has a sub-alpine climate, and is well known for its cool, often misty atmosphere. The town's stone lodges nestle along cool trout dams and streams, where bright yellow arum lilies and 120 other species of indigenous wild flower carpet the region in a kaleidoscope of colours every spring. With its many pubs, restaurants, lodges and quaint village shops, this is one of the most appealing tourist destinations in Mpumalanga. Dullstroom is ultimately about relaxing, breathing fresh air, be it by fishing, hiking, dining out or snuggling up next to a cosy fireplace on a misty night. The town and vicinity offers a choice of accommodation, ranging from camping to well equipped, self catering houses, up-market lodges and hotels..
Belfast is a quiet, intimate town nestled in the arms of the Mpumalanga Highlands. It boasts wide, tree-lined streets while also providing for the daily requirements of a population of about 10,000. Whether it is relaxation and rejuvenation or a fun-filled energetic break you’re after, then Belfast is the ideal setting. The crisp, clear air of the Highveld will invigorate your body and renew your spirit.
Machadodorp was established on the farm "Geluk" (happiness) in 1894 and was named after Joachim Machado, the Portuguese engineer who first surveyed the railway route between Pretoria and Delagoa Bay. Today Machadodorp is known for its temperate climate and superb trout fishing waters. The Elands River runs through the town and Machadodorp's natural sulphur spring is said to have healing properties. The town is a repository for numerous turn-of-the-century buildings.
Waterval Boven is Dutch for Above Waterfall and is named after the waterfall in the Elands River. The village of Waterval Boven is nestled in the Drakensberg Mountains on the fringe of the escarpment, at the foot of the southern hills. It is rich with historical sites and buildings including President Paul Kruger's official residence where he resided in 1900 before going into exile in Europe. The Elands River Waterfall is visible from the mouth of the old Railway Tunnel.
Kwena Basin is the name given to the area between Chomse se Hoogte Pass and Witklip Pass on the R36 between Machadodorp and Lydenburg in Mpumalanga. The Kwena Dam is the focal point of this area, which extends right up to the surrounding mountains that form a natural and majestic boundary. Kwena is the Sotho name for crocodile and derives from the Crocodile River, which flows into the Dam. The Kwena Basin, a unique valley, has seven guest farms which provide a range of accommodation and adventure activities for guests who are assured of undivided hospitality from their hosts. The climate is temperate lending itself to a variety of outdoor recreational activities to suit all age groups. The Kwena Dam is ideal for fishing and a variety of water sports.
The award-winning Badplaas Resort in Mpumalanga is internationally famous for its modern Hydro. At the foot of Mpumalanga's Hlumuhlumu mountains, 283km east of Johannesburg, lies the SATOUR award winner, Badplaas Resort famed for its mineral springs and surrounded by the Emanzana Private Nature Reserve. The Badplaas Resort modern Hydro offers internationally recognised 1-, 3-, & 5-day treatments while the game reserve is habitat to White Rhino and a variety of Antelope. An extensive range of leisure activities are also available.
God's Window on the Drakensberg escarpment, majestic cliffs plunge over 700 meters to the Lowveld and the private game reserves which have made the area one of Africa's prime wildlife destinations. God's Window is a small part of a 250km long rampart of sheer cliffs - it indeed seems as if one can see forever! With its magnificent views, canyons, rock formations and waterfalls, God's Window is truly an area of breathtaking scenic grandeur. There are numerous walks, hiking, horse and mountain bike trails. Here, magical waterfalls spill down the escarpment and a stopover at one of these cascades for a dip into the crystal clear waters, will refresh body and mind.
This gorge is the third largest in the world and one of South Africa's scenic wonders. The Blyde River Canyon is the kind of place where brochures and guide books run out of adjectives to describe the fresh mountain scenery and magnificent panoramic views. At the 'Three Rondavels viewpoint' is an unforgettable view of three huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the Blyde River Canyon. Their tops appear to have a hut-like rounded roof. Where the Blyde River ('river of joy') and the Treur River ('river of sorrow') meet, water erosion has formed one of the most remarkable geological phenomena in the country, known as 'Bourke's Luck Potholes'. Over thousands of years, surreal cylindrical rock sculptures created by whirling water, have formed a series of dark pools which contrast artfully with the streaked white and yellow lichen covered rocks.
Sabie is a small town nestled in a deep valley on the escarpment of the Drakensberg mountain range in the Mpumalanga ("place of the rising sun") province. The town is located 360 km east of the Johannesburg International Airport and 64 km west of the renowned Kruger National Park. Sabie is a popular tourist destination with breathtaking nature scenes and spectacular water falls in pristine mountain streams. The tourism infrastructure is well developed with a number of accommodation establishments and restaurants.
Like many towns in the area, Graskop originated as a gold mining camp in the 1880's. Graskop (grassy hill) is on the edge of the Mpumalanga Drakensberg escarpment, with spectacular views of the lowveld and the Kruger National Park, almost 1000 metres below. Graskop is a good place to take a break while you travel the panorama route, as there are several tempting bakeries and aromatic coffee shops where you can stop and have a bite eat. The gold mining days are long gone and Graskop now has a thriving timber industry. The plantations are some of the largest man made forests in the world and you cannot fail to notice endless rows of pine and eucalyptus trees as you cruise the hills and valleys of this beautiful area.
One of the best examples of a living museum, the Pilgrim's Rest village, is a replica of the early gold mining town. Gold was discovered in Pilgrim's Rest in 1873, and many restored miner's houses serve as accommodation establishments, shops etc. Among a number of fascinating places of interest, the Alanglade House Museum offers guided tours of the former mine manager's house. The Pilgrim's Rest Diggings Museum (just over a kilometre south of town on the Graskop road) arranges conducted tours of gold-panning activities. The Dredzen Shop Museum consists of a store stocked with a range of items in use nearly a century ago.
The Kruger National Park was South Africa's first National Park and established in 1898. Covering somewhat 20 000 square kilometers of the lowveld, this park owes its pride to the unsurpassed variety of game, from the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo), to hippos, cheetahs, hyenas and even the variety of bird life and the beauty of the South African bushveld. The park has eight public entrance gates, namely: Crocodile Bridge and Malelane gates which are the most southern entrances, Numbi, Paul Kruger, Orpen, Phalaborwa east of the park and finally Punda Maria and Pafuri gates in the Northern part of the Park. This is one place you don't want to miss!